ResponsbilityWe, as prep­pers, by def­i­n­i­tion think ahead about “what if” sce­nar­ios. I grant that some peo­ple take prepar­ing to unrealistic/unlikely extremes (I high­ly doubt an alien inva­sion or a zom­bie apoc­a­lypse for exam­ple). And as prep­pers we gen­er­al­ly do think about the well being of oth­ers beyond our­selves and our fam­i­lies. If not gen­eros­i­ty to oth­ers such as shar­ing of supplies/shelter/protection/etc then at least to the extent that we do not want our actions to harm or have a neg­a­tive impact on oth­er peo­ple. At least I don’t.

But I and we as prep­pers are far more alone in that think­ing than I would have liked to think.

Case in point:

Just before writ­ing this arti­cle I had a very trou­bling con­ver­sion with two co-work­ers.

I went to the lunch­room to get some cof­fee and over­heard two co-work­ers, co-work­er1 and co-work­er2, dis­cuss auto repairs. Specif­i­cal­ly, co-work­er1 said his car was recent­ly in the shop and was told his brakes (and rotors) need to be replaced. Not imme­di­ate­ly but with­in a cou­ple hun­dred miles at most.

Co-work­er2 said he (co-work­er1) should con­tin­ue to dri­ve on the current/old brakes until they start to make noise, then get them replaced. As he explained, co-worker2’s think­ing is co-work­er1 is going to dri­ve those same cou­ple hun­dred miles any­way so he may as well do it on the old brakes thus squeez­ing out the last bit of mileage before start­ing with new brakes and rotors.

At this point I chimed in.

I point­ed out that while the cur­rent brakes may still func­tion it is a safe­ty issue. Maybe with new brakes you’re car will stop in 30 feet while on the current/old brakes it takes 45 feet? Or, maybe there’s so much shim­my and vibra­tion in the current/old brakes you have poor steer­ing con­trol if you have to slam on them? Either way, co-work­er1 is going to have to spend the mon­ey on the new brakes any­way very soon so why take the safe­ty risk?

The response from co-work­er2 floored me! He said quote “It’s ok. That’s why there is good insur­ance. They’ll pay for any­thing that hap­pens.”

He did not say it with a smile or wink & nod. He was flat seri­ous.

I point­ed out that if (Heav­en-for­bid) co-work­er1 got into a seri­ous acci­dent and an inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­ered that a mechan­ic strong­ly rec­om­mend­ed chang­ing the brakes but he didn’t that could be held as a lia­bil­i­ty against him.

Again, co-work­er2 said insur­ance will cov­er any­thing that hap­pens. After all, if the car pass­es inspec­tion how bad can the brakes real­ly be?

I won’t go into the blow-by-blow play but the dis­cus­sion went back and forth with me point­ing out both the per­son­al lia­bil­i­ty risks as well as the phys­i­cal risks, and co-work­er2 kept repeat­ing how great insur­ance is. (Mean­while, co-work­er1 whose car this con­ver­sa­tion is about, just watched in silence – I hope my points sunk in on him.)

So to sum it up:

Why both­er active­ly tak­ing pre­cau­tions when insur­ance will pay for any­thing that hap­pens?
Why be a respon­si­ble per­son for your own sake (and your family’s – co-work­er1 is mar­ried with chil­dren) as well as for those around you?
Insur­ance solves the prob­lem – some­one else will fix things for you.
No big­gie.

Yes, insur­ance will pay for dam­ages and lia­bil­i­ty.

But isn’t the goal not to need to rely on the insur­ance?
Isn’t it the mature, adult, respon­si­ble thing to take actions to avoid need­ing to rely on insur­ance?
Shouldn’t insur­ance be a last resort and not a tac­ti­cal deci­sion?

(Foot­note: Accord­ing to a Euro­pean study of dri­ver behav­ior showed 80% of dri­vers involved in acci­dents say it was the oth­er person’s fault; Only 5% admit­ted they did some­thing wrong.)

And that says noth­ing of hav­ing to live with your­self if your actions (or in this case, lack of action) result in the injury or death of some­one else.

This is what we are up against in the world. Co-worker1’s point of view is most regret­tably not unusu­al or unique. Some­one will pay for, clean up, or oth­er­wise take care of us so it doesn’t real­ly mat­ter to take pre­ven­tive actions.

As prep­pers we see this all too often. You try to explain to some­one the ben­e­fits of hav­ing some min­i­mal amount of preps (food, water, med­i­cine, etc) on hand and the oth­er per­son just pre­sumes that if any­thing bad hap­pens then some­one – maybe you since you have the preps! – will take care of them!

I don’t know how to change people’s mind. If you can’t con­vince some­one they have an eth­i­cal duty to take action for their own safe­ty and rea­son­able com­mon safe­ty for those around them then what can be done before some­thing hap­pens?

If some­one wants to bury their head in the sand, go for it. Can’t stop some­one from being short sight­ed or in denial. But the blind reliance on some­one else to fix their own prob­lems, things they could have tak­en steps to pre­vent in the first place, is the tru­ly fright­en­ing part.

Self respect is dead.

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